Sunday, May 04, 2008

Brown on the ropes, should we be wishing him well?

Gordon Brown has just had a grilling, well perhaps a couple of seconds in the microwave, with Andrew Marr. He argued that Labour would be helping people through putting in place a number of building blocks, he was offering a strong sense of direction, but he didn't say what that direction was.

Frankly he looked terrible, very uncomfortable, a sense of a deep underlying misery. He is a man on the ropes, promising to fight but his body language says quite the opposite. I am someone who really believes in the power of humour when you are under attack, it disarms and diffuses the situation and gives you a chink to get your counter attack in. There was none of this, all Brown did was reinforce the image of himself as a dour man who had lost control.

He confessed to having made a mistake over the 10p rate, but said the government were intervening locally and internationally to help the economic problems around the price of food, petrol and housing. He said that he would intervene whilst the Tories would walk away. He argued that Britain was better prepared because of his sound management of the economy in the past. He admitted that he had allowed speculation about the General Election to go on too long. Andrew Marr challenged him that he was too obsessed with the fine detail and consequently had no big picture. His argument was that he was responding to a desire for fairness.

On Boris - he wished him well and congratulated him but questioned where was the substance. He assured us that he would be taking the fight to Tories, for the sake of "hard working families". He questioned whether the party had really changed, where was the substance, where were the policies?

On the prospect of a challenge to his leadership he insisted that it was not there, he did not accept he may not be the right man to lead and was not prepared to step aside. He acknowledged that he was a more private person, but he wanted to solve the country's problems, he felt our pain, understood our problems -he was the right person to do it. So he plans to be getting out more with his clear plan.

AM suggested he was seen as a bit strange, not like other people, a workaholic. Again Brown argued that he had an ordinary background that mean he understands people hurting and their worries. He was not the same as Blair but he was committed to better opportunities for hard working families.

He believed that leadership was tested in the worst of times and he was resolute and determined enough to face the test and build a stronger and fairer country.

When challenged on the 42 days detention he insisted this was the "right thing for the country" but he was someone committed to defending civil liberties.

So, some very contradictory comments. Commitment to opportunity and fairness and helping people in need, but is he really telling us that a man of such intellect and economic capability never understood the consequences of the removal of the 10p rate - even after Ming had pointed out the problem? Telling us he is listening, except of course in those extraordinary (OK everyday) circumstances when he knows what is right for us - 42 day detention for example. And all the chat about "hard working families" what about those who are not part of a family?

But I find myself with a dilemma, do I really want Brown to fall over completely and allow another Tory government in? With the smoke, mirrors and spin of the Tory party reluctant to come up with a single policy - no sorry - one policy on inheritance tax for the very rich - would a future Tory government really be any different from the last one? Maybe the silver lining of a Boris mayoralty will be that we begin to get a feel for the sort of policy direction a future Tory party would be heading in............but then again, maybe not! Brown is right on this, if nothing else, that the Tories lack substance, but as we have seen in the last few days, that is in no way an impediment to electoral success! If a BNP candidate can get elected merely on the basis of "Grown Up Politics" and "putting the needs of people first", Brown may be in a position of King Canute telling the waves to stop, but, unlike Canute, having miscalculated the tide!

1 comment:

Wit and wisdom said...

It's true, we seem to be in the uncomfortable position of having to wish Brown well to stop a resurgent Tory Paty. However, it is also true that Mayor Boris now has a huge issue of convincing people he is fit to run London.

I still think Brown is better than he omes cross and, as many have commented, quite simply there is no alternative Labour leader among the pygmies in govrnment.